Welcome back to Breaking Out, where I highlight game changing episodes from housewives franchises. As this holiday season kicks off I figured what better way to gift myself and our readers than dipping into RHONY’s archives? While season one of RHONY was a perfectly cromulent debut, the show really took off mid-season two when everyone realized that Kelly was completely sane and in the right and that big bully Bethenny was terrorizing her. Let’s reminisce, shall we?
Previously: Kelly can’t lend her name to charities lest they sully her impeccable brand. Bethenny calls her Madonna in the most offensive and inappropriate insult doled out on Real Housewives. Ramona hates Simon. Jill and Ramona are supposed to play a doubles tennis match.
We open on Ramona and Kelly. Ramona had tickets to a fashion week show so she decided to invite Kelly along. She gets great vibes from Kelly and really responds to her. “I’m a great reader of character.” Agree. Kelly unloads on Ramona about how awfully Bethenny treated her at Ally’s charity meeting. She decides she’s going to meet up with Bethenny to hash it out. This should end well!
Meanwhile in a nearby hellverse, Jill and her gay husband Brad are redoing her apartment. Can’t wait for those fabulous “pop” tables to be unveiled. Popping across the Hudson, Alex and Simon are also working on the renovation of their brownstone. They make it very clear to their designer that they are edgy and cool because they need to incorporate their giant portrait of Alice Cooper holding his snake.
Spoiler: it still turns out more tasteful and restrained than Jill’s apartment.
There’s one caveat to this breakout episode: the pacing is extremely weird. Only 11 minutes into the episode we find ourselves at the titular climax. Kelly ranting to Ramona was all the build up we got. Regardless of the odd placement of this scene in the episode, it is a masterpiece.
Kelly explains that she asked Bethenny to meet up with her at the Brass Monkey to discuss the terrible slights she’s been making against her. Of minor note is what I consider an iconic Kelly Killoren Bensimon outfit: her green dress and hot pink Hunter rainboots. She casually strolls in 30 minutes late and sits down.
Bethenny jabs about having to wait 30 minutes for her to show up and Kelly launches right in. “Really? That’s too bad.” Kelly Bensimon in an argument is impossible to win againt due to the fact that nothing she does is rooted in logic or reason. On top of this unique skill, she manages to have the most delightfully aggressive and condescending tone of voice. Bless Kelly for not beating around the bush. She gets right to the point with B.
Bethenny claps back about how Kelly has actually met her like 10 times and never remembers her. There’s a scuffle about some boyfriend of Bethenny’s she brought to a party at Kelly’s house who Kelly claims was there working as a photographer and that’s why it was fine she was hanging off of him. Kelly let’s her know she was disgusted by her behaviour and in one of my favourite moments of the scene, when Bethenny asks what she did that was so disgusting, Kelly responds “you tell me.”
This scene is a whirlwind. I forgot to record how many on-air minutes it comprised but it must have been less than three. Kelly can’t take her anymore. She tells Bethenny to “have a great life” and storms out. Cut to a Bethenny talking head containing that classic wit: “She was a kellamity. And I mean KELL-amity.” Thanks for clarifying, I’m definitely laughing now.
But wait! We’re not finished yet. Bethenny heads downstairs to leave and she finds Kelly waiting in the wings for one last barrage. She tells B she needs to calm down while she’s silently texting into her Blackberry (oh, 2009). When Bethenny insists she is in fact quite calm, Kelly breathlessly giggles out “oh my god you’re so crazy. I gotta go on a date. Bye.” in a perfect tone of disbelief. Team Kelly.
Bethenny does appear to leave this time but there’s MORE. Kelly really did have a date to attend, with the hilarious Italian doofus Max who also banged Sonja as will be revealed in season three. Any scene with Kelly on a date or with a man is a scene to behold. She gushes all over Max while they converse the way two vacuous, beautiful people do. She fills him in on the drama with Bethenny that just went down and her version is like entering an alternate universe. The Kelly-verse? Whatever, it’s better than kellamity. Max loves her pink rainboots, for the record.
Up until this point, S2 newcomer Kelly had been primarily portrayed as a bit of a vapid flirt. In her defense, Bethenny had truly been making snide comments to her all season. This response was the beginning of the aggressive lunatic Kelly we will see going forward. The Bethenny/Kelly rivalry will continue ebbing and flowing through season two (go ahead and watch this fucking hilarious scene of them talking by Jill’s nagging in Ally’s bedroom) and of course builds to its peak next season on Scary Island. Season three might really pick up steam when Jill and Bethenny fall out, but RHONY really found its footing back here in season two when Kelly decided to face off.
Okay but like I said, the pacing of this episode is really weird. We still have 25+ minutes of episode to go! I’m not going to recap everything as it’s all tame in comparison to the insanity explosion we just witnessed, but there are a couple more hilarious character pieces as the episode goes on.
Everyone minus Bethenny ends up heading to a Page Six party at the end of the episode. Kelly and Luann ride over together in a towncar. Kelly recaps the Brass Monkey debacle, and Luann in the height of her “Countess” phase (after releasing Class With the Countess) is horrified that Kelly would be 30 minutes late to a meeting she called. Candace Bushnell is also in attendance at the party and they show her for a split second. This might be her first appearance, but it thankfully won’t be her last!
Luann’s incredibly oily looking book agent is at the party as well. Kelly is ready to gush all over him but the Countess ends up going off on a story about how Napoleon wanted to make the original De Lesseps person a duke but he passed since he was already a count. This means she would have been a duchess, but everyone tells her they like countess better anyway. Kelly stares off into the distance blankly.
This episode precedes the hilarious tennis episode where Jill tries to sneak Simon in as her secret doubles partner to fuck with Ramona. Jill has been dodging Mario and Ramona’s emails about scheduling the match and in a display that has me rooting for Jill, Mario makes a complete ass out of himself calling her out. Ramona ends up going at it with Alex and Simon because they didn’t have the courtesy to warn her about Alex’s nude photos they were leaking themselves. I forgot what a prude Ramona used to be but I guess she was pushing all her gaudy true faith junk back in the day.
And that’s it! After the high of Bethenny and Kelly’s meeting earlier in the episode, we end on two lacklustre fights at the party. The unusual pacing isn’t enough to make this episode anything less of a classic, though. Were you Team Krazy Kelly or Team Basic Bethenny? Drop a note in the comments and stay tuned for the next breakout episode.